Believe who, again?
November 13, 2002 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Believe who, again? "So twice a week, for US$3,000 a month, the Iraqi student says, under condition of anonymity, that he took a a Boston-area recording studio rented by the Rendon Group, a DC-based public relations firm with close ties to the US government. His job: translate and dub spoofed Saddam Hussein speeches and tongue-in-cheek newscasts for broadcast throughout Iraq." And other machinations of the PR-industrial complex in this piece from the Asia Times (courtesy of prwatch). Not so much funny "ha-ha" as funny "Ahhhhh!!! Ahhhh!"
posted by chandy72 (12 comments total)
So if I read this correctly, the student did the voice-overs for six years, and only quit because he thought the bits weren't funny/comprehensible enough? In other words, he got frustrated because he hates Saddam and thought that Rendon should be doing a better job with psy ops?

I guess I don't see where the "outrage" is supposed to come from. Is the argument that we shouldn't be doing psy ops, or that we should be doing them better?
posted by pardonyou? at 12:19 PM on November 13, 2002

Shuttling between London and DC, Chalabi hasn't been in Iraq for over years, and draws "more support on the Potomac than the Euphrates," says...

Get an editor.
posted by Hall at 12:21 PM on November 13, 2002

"Who in Iraq is going to think it's funny to poke fun at Saddam's mustache," the student notes, "when the vast majority of Iraqi men themselves have mustaches?"

This is funny, to me, unto itself.
posted by four panels at 12:25 PM on November 13, 2002

pardon: "I guess I don't see where the "outrage" is supposed to come from. Is the argument that we shouldn't be doing psy ops, or that we should be doing them better?"
The piece goes on to document Hill & Knowlton's faking of Republican Guard atrocities against Iraqi infants as a sympathy-building tactic leading up to the Gulf War. Several congressmen bought it as a main reason for getting behidn the war mule. Kind of "outrage"ous to me.
But, yeah, I mainly posted this cuz it struck me that if the gov't's going to employ a firm to do psy-ops, they should at least get some decent writers and Arabic speaker (in this case).
posted by chandy72 at 12:27 PM on November 13, 2002

Is it possible that Iraq has also been doing this to some of Bush's speeches? That sure would explain a few things.
posted by trigfunctions at 12:43 PM on November 13, 2002

One CIA agent familiar with the project calls the project's problem a lack of "due diligence", and adds that "the scripts were put together by 23-year-olds with connections to the Democratic National Committee." - from the article.

Two thoughts: Huh?

and: Maybe they shouldn't hire people who already work for SNL.

*fondles polititalkaholic coin, throws in well, makes wish.*
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:47 PM on November 13, 2002

they should have hired some onion writers.

and if the scripts sucked, why didn't he help punch them up a little? after all, nobody understood a word he was saying.

"We did skits where Saddam would get mixed up in his own lies, or where [Saddam's son] Qusay would stumble over his own delusions of grandeur."

Sounds pretty funny to me.
posted by probablysteve at 1:52 PM on November 13, 2002

I was more interested in all the misinformation presented by the US Government to mobilize public opinion.

So what BS are they telling us this time?
posted by 4midori at 2:16 PM on November 13, 2002

Like father like son.

Sounds pretty familiar to me.
posted by specialk420 at 2:16 PM on November 13, 2002

i'm with 4midori.

it's funny that everyone assumes that these "information warriors" are targeting Middle Easterners (the US has probably already lost that battle forever). it seems to me like the only purpose of these operations is to confuse Americans.

"when the going gets weird, the weird go pro."

aside from lying to Americans, there's also the very large problem of flushing our money down the drain, or into Rendon's pockets.

"Because Rendon didn't have production capability in his office, he farmed out the work. And under his contract, he collected a 10 percent management fee for each subcontractor he hired. In the course of making the video he also received 10 percent of the cost of buying the tapes, hiring a camera crew, and renting an editing suite. On top of that pure profit, he billed for his own operatives who put the tape together. Finally, he sold the finished tape to the government at a rate of $5,000 per minute."

i'm sure it's all worth it.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:37 PM on November 13, 2002

.....On the other hand, what does a one ton laser guided bomb cost? Sure, Reardon contract $ might as well be flushed down the toilet, but it's all relative; the really big money is still in weapons sales.
posted by troutfishing at 8:27 PM on November 13, 2002

Chandy72: I'm going to have to call you on your allegations about Hill and Knowlton. Nayirah Al Sabah who testified before the House of Representatives had, in fact, observed one such incident of Iraqi soldiers entering hospitals and commandeering incubators and heard from her fellow volunteers and other nurses of many more.

Reuters, the Washington Post, and the news columns of The New York Times as well as the American Embassy in Kuwait verified that there were numerous examples of babies being removed from incubators by Iraqi soldiers and being left to die.

Full disclosure: I work for Hill and Knowlton
posted by dmt at 2:30 AM on November 14, 2002

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